Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, this week admitted that there's no criminal threat to pastors who refuse to marry gay and lesbian couples.

Mohler, 55, made his comments during this week's Southern Baptist Convention's two-day meeting in Columbus, Ohio, at which the nation's largest Protestant denomination approved a resolution pledging to defy the Supreme Court if it stuck down state bans on gay marriage.

(Related: Southern Baptists pledge to defy Supreme Court on gay marriage.)

Social conservatives often claim that if the high court strikes down the nation's remaining 13 bans, then pastors would face criminal prosecution for refusing to marry gay couples.

Mohler said that the “real danger” for opposing pastors wasn't the threat of criminal charges but a cultural backlash.

“It's really important that you and every other pastor needs to say, 'I'm not going to perform a same-sex wedding,'” Mohler said. “But let's be honest, there's not really a danger that the sheriff's gonna show up and say, 'You have to do this.' So far as I know, no pastor has been sued successfully for refusing to marry someone on other grounds – that's not the real danger.”

“The real danger is we're going to pay an enormous social, cultural price for not doing a same-sex ceremony. We're going to be considered morally deficient. Let's admit it. We're much more accustomed to being accused of being morally superior. They've said we've been 'stand-offish' meaning better than them, now a large part of this culture thinks we are morally deficient,” he added.